Stories

Reasons to love America, 2018

Forget D.C. Forget Twitter. Forget what's on your screens. On America's 242nd birthday, the numbers in the poll below should be a hell of a lot higher.

Adapted from a Gallup report; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The big picture: Gallup this week began its report on the poll above (taken by phone June 1-13; 1,520 U.S. adults; ±3-point margin of error for total): "This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. ... For the first time in Gallup's 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are 'extremely proud."

  • By the numbers: "Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003."

A USA Today/Ipsos poll made a clever distinction in its questions and had a more encouraging result (taken online June 26-27; 1,004 U.S. adults; ±3.5 margin of error for total):

  • 72% felt proud to be Americans.
  • 42% feel proud of America right now.

Our thought bubble: When we begin conflating "America" with partisan forces on either side, they've won. The strength of our country has been that it transcends the fads, fevers and foul-ups of the moment.

Consider:

  • "The U.S. had more job openings this spring than unemployed Americans." (Wall Street Journal)
  • We travel freely: Every day, 2.5 million of us board 42,000 flights.
  • 25% of us do volunteer service.
  • The U.S. government spends close to $50 billion (1% of total federal budget authority) helping the world, plus billions more from U.S.-based philanthropies.
  • Americans are part of just 39% of the world population judged by Freedom House to be "free."
  • "Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century." (Pew Research Center)
  • "Crime in New York City Plunges to a Level Not Seen Since the 1950s." (N.Y. Times)
  • "Powered by a booming stock market and a strong economy," charitable giving in the U.S. last year "exceeded $400 billion in a single year for the first time." (Giving USA)
  • About 1.3 million of us are on active duty in the military, and 20 million of us once served. (But, per the Pentagon: "[T]he number of Americans with firsthand experience with service members or veterans has declined precipitously since the beginning of the all-volunteer military in 1973.")

There's plenty we can do better, and that our leaders should do better. We write about that on Axios all day, every day. Axios AM's highest purpose is to give you a clear-eyed view of a disruptive world, so you can make smarter decisions.

But enjoy today, and the country. America, here's to 243!